Ya'alon, Erdan in turf war over Home Front Defense

Erdan threatens to resign if not given more authority; Ya'alon says talk of splitting responsibilities comes from "people who don't understand."

IDF chief Gantz, PM Netanyahu, and Homeland Def. Min. Erdan  (photo credit: REUTERS)
IDF chief Gantz, PM Netanyahu, and Homeland Def. Min. Erdan
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan threatened to leave his post if the ministry is not given more authority in a media blitz against Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon Thursday.
“The defense minister is preventing the Home Front Defense Ministry from receiving more authority and being able to function, and then says that we don’t work well and need to be closed,” Erdan said to Army Radio.
The home front defense minister quipped to Israel Radio “Ya’alon must miss the situation in the Second Lebanon War when the defense minister had to take care of the home front, and we all know what the results were.”
Erdan called for the Home Front Command to be his ministry’s responsibility, as comptroller reports recommended.
In recent weeks, Erdan pressed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to give his ministry more authority. Netanyahu promised to do so twice: Once when Erdan was appointed to his post, and again in August, when the government decided that all of the Home Front Command’s civilian responsibilities go to the Home Front Defense Ministry.
The Defense Ministry, however, has yet to implement the decision and Erdan sent a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein last week saying that his ministry did not receive the funds it was promised from Ya’alon’s ministry, and important projects were delayed as a result.
On Wednesday night, Ya’alon defended his decision in a Defense Ministry conference.
“I am not trying to avoid responsibilities. This is my responsibility from start to finish. We can’t split this up and have one office give orders to the Home Front Command, plus the chief of staff give them orders, and I’ll give them orders. I, the chief of staff and the home front commander are one axis. I don’t recognize anything else,” Ya’alon said.
According to Ya’alon, the correct action would be to have a deputy defense minister in charge of home front defense, who deals with dayto- day matters while the defense minister is the authority in times of emergency.
Ya’alon said the only reason to separate home front defense from the Defense Ministry is politics, which would waste the public’s money and could only have negative results.
“We saw this in the snowstorm,” he said. “Is the Home Front Command just orange berets? No, the whole IDF was [part of helping in the storm].
The tools don’t belong to the Home Front Command, they belong to the Engineering Corps. Helicopters belong to the air force, armored personnel carriers could belong to the Golani Brigade or the paratroopers.”
“Why should we build something else? Where will they get recruits? These talks are full of hot air, by people who don’t understand,” Ya’alon said.